Some meandering background…

Although approximately thirty centuries too late to be ahead of the trend, I've been thinking about the role of papers in the practical education of software for a while, with bedraggled published evidence as far back as 2009, onwards into 2012, and I've participated or started a paper reading group on every team that I've had the opportunity to work with. While many phenomenal programs these days do teach some popular software engineering papers, many simply don't have room in their curriculums, and consequently many people never have the opportunity to be exposed to the exciting, innovative and inane papers our industry produces.

So, the first motivating idea was to build something that might start off a career of learning.

One of the recurring themes that comes from paper reading groups is the assertion that a given paper doesn't relate to the actual work at hand. Personally, I tend to think if you look hard enough that you can always find something relevant to your work, but it's certainly true that if you only studied papers, you would miss out on many of the most interesting techniques of the trade which are not novel enough to document in a paper but which are useful enough to use for a lifetime.

Thus the second motivating idea: finding ways to explore the useful systems and ideas that you'll want in your personal toolkit.

Setting off to explore this idea, I started with a simple site for listing papers, and then set off the concept of a Project Euler-like concept for building and verifying systems. Each time I started working on one, I started to get distracted by the other, so in time honored tradition I ended up building both.

This is a very new idea, so please send feedback via Twitter to @lethain or shoot me an email at lethain[at]google's email service.

(You can also find my incoherent scribling on my blog.)